Staff & Board Members

staff

AMY HUFNAGEL
Executive Director

Amy joined ACE Houston as the Executive Director in April of 2022 after being involved with the program as a mentor and board member for almost ten years. She initially got involved with ACE Houston as a mentor in 2012 while working at Walter P Moore and later served as a lead mentor for three years at the Downtown location. Amy joined the Executive Board of Directors in 2017 and became the Chair of the inaugural Associate Board in 2018. Amy graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a MS in Structural Engineering and is a licensed professional engineer.Connect with Amy: amy@acementorhouston.org

BILL PALAMOUNTAIN
Bookkeeper

Bill has served as the CFO for public and private companies operating nationally and internationally. He also founded a company producing recycling equipment nationally for 25 years. Bill joined the ACE Houston team as a volunteer in 2021.

EXECUTIVE Board of Directors

Scott Crain, E.E. Reed Construction

SCOTT CRAIN
Chair

Scott serves as Vice President for E.E. Reed Interiors. With 20 years of experience in project and operations management, tenant improvement, and capital projects, his approach is to focus on achieving business objectives. Scott is responsible for business development, executive oversight, value engineering, budget/estimating, and marketing for E.E. Reed. He joined the ACE Houston board in 2018, and since then has served as the Chair of the Communications Committee and Treasurer of the Board prior to moving in his current role as Chairman. Scott holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Organizational Behavior and Management from the University of Houston. 

LAURA CARRERA
Past Chair

Laura is an architect and partner at Urbano Architects, an award-winning architecture firm headquartered in Houston, Texas. She leads the firm's Historic Preservation studio and is passionate about transforming underutilized existing or historic buildings for modern use while maintaining the essence of their original character. In addition, Laura is a dedicated community advocate of architectural education and joined the ACE Mentor Program in 2012, first serving as a mentor in New York City before moving to Houston. She joined the ACE Houston Board of Directors in 2018 and since then has served as Fundraising Chair, Chairperson, and now Past Chair. 

DEREK SOLTES

Treasurer

Derek is a Senior Associate and Senior Architect at Inventure Design and is inspired by working with others towards a better world for all of us. Being involved with ACE Mentor Program Houston is a natural fit and an extension of his desire to help others reach their goals through leadership and support. Derek got involved with ACE Houston as a mentor in 2016 and joined the Executive Board in 2017.

INGA ZUNTE
Secretary

Inga is a design manager and architect at Gensler within their Lifestyle practice area. She brings over 17 years of experience working on restaurants, hotels, retail centers, and cruise ship interiors, including new construction projects as well as complex renovations that bridge the gap between interior and architecture design. Inga started volunteering as a mentor at the Downtown location in 2015, served as an Associate Board Member for many years, and joined the Executive Board in 2022. 

ADAM CRYER

Executive Committee Member

Adam Cryer is Co-founder and President of Pinnacle Structural Engineers, headquartered in Houston, Texas.  He is a graduate of Rice University, who subsequently obtained his Masters in Structural Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin.  In 2014, Adam was named as a Top 40 Under 40 Professional by Building Design & Construction magazine, as well as one of Structural Engineering magazine’s Top 15 Rising Stars in the U.S. Adam has been involved with ACE Houston since 2012, and since then has served as a mentor, board member, Executive Committee member, and Vice Chair of the Board.

ERIN KUEHT
Executive Committee Member

As a structural engineer by trade, Erin is passionate about helping students realize their potential and recognizing and reaching the opportunities that are available to them. She has filled the roles of mentor, lead mentor, board member, and Board Secretary since she started with ACE when the Houston affiliate started in 2009. Erin was born and raised through Houston ISD schools and loves teaching and explaining some of the amazing experiences she has had in her thirteen years experience in the industry. 

CHARLENE ANTHONY

Charlene is the Senior Director of Professional Development for the Associated General Contractors of America - Houston Chapter, and has spent her entire professional career in non-profit organizations.  She has been involved in ACE Mentor Houston since 2008, making her one of our inaugural members. She is passionate about education and scholarships. 

ANGELA COTIE

Angela is a Vice President at Bartlett Cocke General Contractors and has been involved with many high-profile projects during her 23 years that have received multiple local, national, and international awards. A Penn State graduate, Angela was an ENR Texas/Louisiana Top 20 under 40 in 2015 and a 2018 STEAM Role Model for Houston Women’s Chamber. She is working with the AGC starting a local Women in Construction initiative. Angela served as ACE Mentor Houston’s Chairman of the Board for five years and now serves as Past Chair. She is also a board member for PSU’s Architectural Engineering Program, Board Member for Houston Parkinson’s Society, a Galveston Career Connect leader, HISD chamber member, and active with her children's school FFA and activities. 

DIANA DAVIS

As Managing Director of the Houston office of Perkins & Will, Diana provides strategic, executive and financial leadership, while supporting excellence in design. As Principal and Healthcare market sector leader for the Houston practice, she brings over 20 years of experience working with academic medical center and community hospital clients. Diana joined the ACE Houston Executive Board in 2019, and currently serves on the Alumni Committee.

NICK FLOYD

Nick is an Associate Principal at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc (SGH), where he has focused on investigation and remedial design of building enclosures for over 20 years. A University of Texas at Austin graduate, Nick moved back to Texas in 2015 to help SGH start their Houston office. Nick joined the ACE Houston Scholarships Committee in 2021 and the ACE Houston board in 2024.

JORDANA PAKER

As Director of Business Development with ECS Limited, Jordana oversees the growth of new business in the Southwest Region. Leveraging more than 20 years of national and regional commercial real estate experience, Jordana excels in cultivating high-performance partnerships and driving market expansion. Originally from Chicago, IL, Jordana first got involved with the Chicago affiliate of ACE, along with the Engineering Futures program. She started volunteering for the ACE Houston Scholarship Committee in 2021 and joined the Executive Board in 2022. 
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ROBERT ROGERS

Robert is a Vice President and structural engineer at Thornton Tomasetti. He loves seeing kids and adults grow and develop into amazing people. His favorite part of ACE is seeing the development of the students from the beginning of the year to the end.  The smiles and confidence that come when the students realize how much they've accomplished is irreplaceable. Robert has been involved in ACE at several different affiliates for over 14 years, during which time he has served as a mentor, team leader, Associate Board Chair, keynote speaker, and Board Member. He joined the ACE Houston Executive Board in 2020 and is currently serving as the Fundraising Chair.

MELISSA TURNBAUGH

Melissa is a Partner at PBK Architects and brings more than 15 years of specialized expertise in the planning, design and management of educational facilities for both public and private institutions. She is driven by a belief that all students should have equitable access to innovative indoor and outdoor learning environments. With her role as the National Education and Innovation Leader, Melissa serves as a resource and advocate for research-based, student-centered, and purpose-driven learning environments. In her career she has worked on a variety of projects ranging from the youngest learners in early childcare centers to advanced academics in career and technical high schools all while building meaningful, long-term relationships with clients. Melissa joined the Executive Board in 2020.   

DEREK WEBB

Derek is a Principal and Founder of DEK Studio in Houston, TX. Derek has practiced architecture in Houston since 2004 and joined the ACE Houston Executive Board in 2021. Derek’s work can be characterized as having a deep connection to place, memory, and an intimate relation with people. A past President of AIA Houston and an AIA National 2015 Young Architect Award winner, Derek and his work have been published locally and nationally, and he is a regularly invited critic at Houston area design schools. By joining ACE, he is excited to help mentor and influence the next generation of design and construction professionals.

TYLER WELLBORN

Tyler has spent time as a general contractor and is currently the Vice President of Development for Stream Realty, a real estate company doing development projects. He has been involved with ACE Houston since 2012 and joined the Executive Board in 2014. During his tenure as a board member, he served as the Board Treasurer for several terms. Some of his favorite parts of ACE include seeing the sense of accomplishment that students get after completing their final presentation and the early exposure to the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering. 

CHRIS PALAMOUNTAIN

Legal Counsel

Chris is Senior Counsel in the Labor & Employment practice group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Chris began serving as legal counsel to the ACE Houston Executive Board in 2019.